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Romana, short for Romanadvoratrelundar, is a fictional character in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who. A Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, she is a companion to the Fourth Doctor.
As a Time Lord, Romana is able to regenerate, having had two on-screen incarnations with somewhat different personalities (dubbed Romana I and Romana II by fans). Romana I was played by Mary Tamm from 1978 to 1979. When Tamm chose not to sign on for a second season, the part was recast. Romana II was played by Lalla Ward from 1979 to 1981. A third incarnation of Romana has been depicted in some of the spin-off novels, and a fourth (performed by Juliet Landau) has been featured in several audio dramas released by Big Finish Productions in 2013 and 2014.
Romana is one of only two members of the Doctor's own race to travel with him in the original television series. The other is Susan Foreman, the Doctor's granddaughter, though Susan was never actually referred to as a Time Lord.
The White Guardian originally assigns Romana to assist the Doctor during the quest for the Key to Time, a series of linked serials which constitute the whole of Season 16 (1978–79). Romana first appears in The Ribos Operation, and was intended as a contrast to her predecessor, the savage Leela. Romana is initially haughty and somewhat arrogant, looking down on the Doctor (whom she considers to be her academic inferior) and responding to his initial resentment at her presence with icy put-downs. However, she soon gains an appreciation for the Doctor's experience and sense of adventure, and begins to respect him as a teacher.
Over the course of Season 16, Romana begins to take on some of the characteristics of the screaming "damsel in distress", which reinforced Tamm's decision not to remain in the role as she felt the character had been taken as far as she could go. As a result, Romana regenerates at the start of Season 17, emerging with a different physical appearance and a lighter personality.
Although Tamm had left the show on relatively good terms and was willing to film a regeneration sequence for the start of Season 17, she was not invited to do so. She has stated that the often-repeated explanation that she left due to pregnancy is a myth that was started by producer John Nathan-Turner as she was not pregnant when she decided to leave the series. However, her pregnancy has been stated as the reason she was not able to film a regeneration sequence.
Notes for Romana